The Drive In Automotive
JTCars Penang Food Trip Adventure
It’s been a while since we last went to Penang. Remember our 2010 Super Cars Charity drive? So it’s time to revisit the Pearl of the orient once again. There have been many charities organized lately so this time we decided to leave that out. It would be a private drive per se. For once our friends and customers can have their personal space, spending time with their loved ones (the car… and family, ofcourse). There were no fixed schedules to follow.
It was going to be a busy weekend, Christmas was around the corner and many tourists were already flooding the hotels. This time we would stay clear of Batu Ferringhi and opt for the city area instead.
There were 4 groups joining the drive. The drive route would stop at each location and the convoy would grow in size. The first group gathered at Sungai Buloh R&R at 10am and most were driving their newly attained sports cars for the first time. After some ice breaking and light breakfast, we proceeded along our journey.
Our second pit stop was Rawang to meet up with group number 2. As traffic on the highway was going to be heavy, we detoured inland through sweeping B roads. In this section, the sports cars come alive and much fun was had taking banking curves with the engines at almost full chat. Group 3 was waiting for us in Ipoh and after a short fuel stop we finally met up with them.
Group 4 was already at Taiping New Club waiting with lunch. As the drive took longer than expected, everyone was starving. Once seated, we began processing the sumptuous food that lay before us. While dining we noticed the some cars zooming by the club perimeter road, which was actually a local motoring event being held. So while dining, we also had a good view of the event.
After having our fill, our final stop was Penang. Led by a crew of out riders, the road ahead was cleared and we were able to cross the Penang Bridge without any delay. Once the convoy arrived at the hotel, we were greeted with welcome drinks and cool sea breeze. We had an hour’s rest while some opted for a massage session that came with the suites.
Refreshed and ready, we headed out for the night. A delightful Nyonya style dinner was prepare by the Hainan Town Restaurant situated on the Weld Quay Jetty. A rarity that you seldom find back in KL was the Nyonya fish stomach curry. It was laced with multiple herb leaves which made it very fragrant and savoury. Plenty of rice went down along with the fish & squid curry, stewed mutton, grilled fish with curry paste, assam giant prawns, otak-otak, paitee and wok fired vegetables.
After dinner we had first drinks on the jetty. A fireworks display was setup and shortly the skies were lit with mesmerizing flashes of light. It was quite frightening also as the fireworks exploded not too far off the ground and the explosions looked larger than life. Even the traffic on the main road came to a halt to view the show.
As the night was still young, we adjourned for some entertainment at Penang Road. Akin to KL’s Changkat Bukit Bintang, the pubs and bistros serves cold beer and pretty good live music. Nearby we also sampled the famous Sup Kambing and had the last teh tarik, roti and Ramli of the night. Off to bed after a long day then.
If you didn’t already know, Penang is a food haven. And a famous produce from this island is its Penang fried kuey teow with duck egg. We had to cut short our sleep just to make it for breakfast. Off to a popular hawker stall located at Pulau Tikus, we had to wait 40mins while the cook prepared each order one at a time. While waiting for the fried kuey teow to arrive, a hot bowl of prawn mee kept us occupied. And when the main course finally arrived it did not disappoint! Notably, the flavours weren't as intense as KL's but the ingredients were very fresh and the cooking style highlighted this. Afterwards we went straight back to bed for our continued recovery from yesternight’s episode.
We checked out at noon and had one more destination before completing our trip. Food was back in the mind again and this time we headed across the Penang Bridge towards Pulau Aman for lunch. We parked our cars at the Jetty and continued the journey by ferry.
It was a small and neat island, but the restaurant we were heading to was jammed pack with locals queuing to have lunch. Beside the restaurant was a seafood depot where fishermen deposited their catch of the day. Wholesalers come to buy them in bulk but many patrons were also picking the best for lunch. We did our part and supported the local industry by hauling about 12kgs of seafood.
Then we passed them over to the restaurant kitchen. When it came out steaming fresh and piping hot, the caveman instinct kicked-in and everyone began mauling the piles of crustacean that lay ahead. The flower crab was the best tasting we had, ever! Giant mantis prawns were sweet and the prawns were succulent and large as well. It took 2 hours to finish this epic meal and everyone contributed to the onslaught which left only empty shells scattered across the table.
So it was about 4pm and everyone began their journey home. Taking a relaxing drive, most were back by dinner time. Although the trip lasted only 2 days, it felt longer as everyone encountered many happenings, new friends and had good chats along the way. This time with no fixed schedules or duties, it was truly a driver's drive. Till the next trip, See you guys!